Alaska Permanent Fund

The Alaska Permanent Fund has reached an all-time high: $80.1 billion.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the milestone Friday, saying the state is seeing the highest returns ever in a single year.

“Following a year of hardship due to the pandemic, the Permanent Fund will undoubtedly be a key financial resource for the state and Alaskan families,” the governor said in a news release. 

The fund has doubled in the last 10 years, rising from $40.1 billion in fiscal year 2011 to the $80.1 billion at close of business this week. In the past year, the fund saw a huge swing of $15 billion. 

On Feb. 22, the fund had a value of almost $74.8 billion, according to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. 

Much of the fund’s growth is attributable to its $30 billion public equity, or stock, portfolio.

A statement on the corporation’s website, however, takes a celebratory yet cautious tone, noting that in the world of finance, changes can happen fast.

“With one month remaining in Fiscal Year 21, which ends June 30, we understand that there is still unresolved uncertainty in global markets and things can change,” the statement reads. “APFC’s skilled team will continue to use their expertise and knowledge to successfully navigate through potential volatility, in order to follow through on our mandate to deliver outstanding returns for the benefit of all current and future generations of Alaskans.”

Legislators will tackle the future of fund in a special session the governor has called to pass the FY 2022 budget and to debate the future of the fund. Changes include putting the PFD formula in the Alaska Constitution and splitting revenue between PFD payments and state services.

In 1977, the Permanent Fund got its first deposit of oil money, $734,000. In 1980, Gov. Jay Hammond signed the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation into law to manage the fund’s investments. Two years after that, residents saw the first dividend from the fund, a check of $1,000. 

Contact Managing Editor Gary Black at 459-7504.